EMOTIONS IN PLAY: The Role of Physical Play in Children’s Social Well- Being

Guida Veiga, Brenda M.S. da Silva, Jenny Gibson, Carolien Rieffe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Play is an important context for children's emotional and social development. Most play research has been focused on pretend play; however, observational studies have shown that children spend a considerable amount of time engaged in physical play. Although it is thought to be important, little is known about the role of physical play in children's emotion socialization. Physical play can be categorized in two forms: exercise play and rough-and-tumble play. Both forms involve moderate to vigorous playful body activity, which is accompanied by physiological arousal. In addition, rough-and-tumble play often involves role taking, requiring children to accurately read their partners emotional and intentional expressions, control their anger impulses, and cope with frustration. Recent research has shown that exercise play, especially when engaged with peers, is related to emotion understanding and emotion regulation; but this is less clear for rough-and-tumble play. Besides, physical play provides an important mechanism for peer interactions that is less dependent on verbal interactions, which is especially relevant for children with communication impairments, and hearing loss in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Emotional Development
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780198855903
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • deaf
  • emotion regulation
  • emotion socialization
  • emotion understanding
  • exercise play
  • hard of hearing
  • play
  • rough-and-tumble play
  • NLA


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